Boots sales in freefall as lockdowns batter High Street and transport hub stores
Boots continues to struggle due to a ‘significantly reduced’ number of shoppers on the High Street and a collapse in commuter numbers, according to its US owner.
The chemist said it had also suffered as customers shift towards picking up toiletries as part of their food shop rather than in its stores.
Retail parks, where many supermarkets are situated, have performed better than transport hubs and the High Street as families avoid public transport.
Boots said it had also suffered as shoppers shift towards picking up toiletries as part of their food shop rather than in its stores
The poor sales figures for the three months to August 31 were responsible for dragging the international pharmacy division of Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) to a £102million loss.
Overall the company made profits of £288million during the quarter.
Revenues at Boots UK plunged 16.7 per cent, which reflected the 29.2 per cent like-for-like fall in sales from stores, counter-balanced by a 155 per cent jump in demand online.
The store performance was an improvement on the period between March and May when revenues halved.
The chain’s struggles during the first lockdown, when many of its stores were loss-making, led it to announce in July that 48 outlets would close and 4,000 jobs would be axed.
A spokesman for WBA said: ‘Footfall in stores continued to be significantly reduced due to Covid-19.
‘Boots UK market share was lower in all categories except beauty, as the pandemic continued to impact heavily on buying habits and consumers temporarily shifted purchasing to one-stop grocery shopping.’
Pharmacy sales grew by 0.4 per cent as the ‘favourable timing’ of the NHS reimbursement balanced out lower demand for prescriptions and pharmacy services.
Chief executive Stefano Pessina said: ‘Now, more than ever, our pharmacy-centred business is at the heart of community healthcare and we are expanding on that role for the future.’